Areas of Science Physics
Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Abstract

Eardrums are membranes inside your ears that vibrate when sound waves hit them. These vibrations are converted into electrical signals and sent to your brain, which allows you to hear sound. The frequency response of your eardrum, or the range of frequencies that will cause it to vibrate, determines your hearing range. Typical human hearing ranges from about 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz, although the ability to hear high frequencies typically degrades as you get older. Some other animals can hear much higher frequencies—for example, dogs can hear up to about 45,000 Hz!

You can make a model of your eardrum using a bowl and plastic wrap, as shown in this video:

To turn this activity into a science project, try using a tone generator app or website instead of humming. This will allow you to play tones at a constant frequency to determine the frequency response of your eardrum model. Sweep through a range of frequencies to find out which ones cause the sprinkles to vibrate. Make sure you keep the phone or speakers at a constant volume and distance/orientation relative to the bowl for each frequency. Try changing different variables, like the size or material of the bowl, or the size of the sprinkles (or other granular materials, like salt or rice). How does this change the frequency response?

Bibliography

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project Yes, I Did This Project! Please log in (or create a free account) to let us know how things went.

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "How Does Your Eardrum Work?" Science Buddies, 20 Nov. 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Phys_p108/physics/eardrum-sound. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, November 20). How Does Your Eardrum Work? Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Phys_p108/physics/eardrum-sound


Last edit date: 2020-11-20

Experimental Procedure

For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project Yes, I Did This Project! Please log in (or create a free account) to let us know how things went.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

Ask an Expert

Related Links

If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

audiologist testing child's hearing

Audiologist

On each side of your head is the auditory system, one of the most beautifully designed organs in the human body. The auditory system not only detects sound, but is closely tied to the vestibular system, which helps a person with balance, and knowing how his or her body is moving through space. Audiologists detect, diagnose, and develop treatment plans for people of all ages who have problems with hearing, balance, or spatial positioning. This important work impacts how well a person is able to communicate and function at home, school, and work. Read more
sound engineer working

Sound Engineering Technician

Any time you hear music at a concert, a live speech, the police sirens in a TV show, or the six o'clock news you're hearing the work of a sound engineering technician. Sound engineering technicians operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. Read more
Female physicist working

Physicist

Physicists have a big goal in mind—to understand the nature of the entire universe and everything in it! To reach that goal, they observe and measure natural events seen on Earth and in the universe, and then develop theories, using mathematics, to explain why those phenomena occur. Physicists take on the challenge of explaining events that happen on the grandest scale imaginable to those that happen at the level of the smallest atomic particles. Their theories are then applied to human-scale projects to bring people new technologies, like computers, lasers, and fusion energy. Read more
female doctor talking to elderly patient

Physician

Physicians work to ease physical and mental suffering due to injury and disease. They diagnose medical conditions and then prescribe or administer appropriate treatments. Physicians also seek to prevent medical problems in their patients by advising preventative care. Ultimately, physicians try to help people live and feel better at every age. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

 
, ,
Note: A computerized matching algorithm suggests the above articles. It's not as smart as you are, and it may occasionally give humorous, ridiculous, or even annoying results! Learn more about the News Feed

Looking for more science fun?

Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.

Find an Activity
Free science fair projects.